FOXBORO, Mass. — Kamu Grugier-Hill is officially listed as an outside linebacker on the New England Patriots’ roster. It’s ironic that on a list of players with vague positions like “defensive back” and “offensive lineman,” the Patriots specifically listed the 2016 sixth-round draft pick as playing a certain role, since he might not even play linebacker in the pros.
According to Grugier-Hill, who looks more like a safety at 6-foot-2, 215 pounds but played linebacker in college at Eastern Illinois, his position has yet to be determined.
“Right now, it’s just in the coaches’ hands,” Grugier-Hill said Thursday at Gillette Stadium. “I’m just here trying to learn the game, learn the playbook and just get better everyday. …
“Right now there’s no specifics. Just learning the playbook.”
Wearing No. 48, Grugier-Hill could play either position in the NFL. He says he doesn’t have a preference, and he’ll probably begin his NFL career playing special teams, anyway.
“Just happy to play the game of football,” Grugier-Hill said.
It’s rare for one NFL team to have multiple players from one FCS school on their roster, but Grugier-Hill joins former Eastern Illinois teammate Jimmy Garoppolo on the Patriots. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick intimated Garoppolo had a role in the Patriots’ decision to draft the defender.
“You know, Eastern Illinois, it’s a school that is closely scrutinized now but we have some extra help on that one,” Belichick said after the 2016 NFL Draft. “Plus, we have a little scouting going on here. Most teams don’t have that extra set of eyes.”
Grugier-Hill was quick to say Garoppolo isn’t the only player on the Patriots helping him acclimate.
“It’s obviously nice to have someone you know here, but all the guys are great,” Grugier-Hill said. “It’s not just Jimmy. The rookie class is great. Just having everyone here is awesome. …
“I’ve melded with the other guys. The other guys have been just as helpful if not more. It’s not just about Jimmy, it’s not just about me. We’re as a team now, and it’s great to be here.”
Despite coming from an FCS program, Grugier-Hill isn’t allowing Belichick or quarterback Tom Brady’s fame to get to him.
“This isn’t Hollywood,” Grugier-Hill said. “At the end of the day, you have to be professional. It’s great to see — not just them two — there’s other guys on the team that have been great forever.”
Thumbnail photo via Doug Kyed/NESN
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